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Officials Fear Thanksgiving Family Gatherings Will Fuel Surge Of COVID-19 Cases

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX)-- Governor Newsom says a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases could lead the state to move some counties backward on its tiered system for reopening.

With just 17 days to go before Thanksgiving, health officials are asking Californians not to let their guard down.

There have been more than 44 deaths every day over a 7-day period. The state's positivity rate over 14 days is 3.7%, compared to 2.5% in mid-October.

Here in the Bay Area, Alameda County is seeing the most COVID-19 cases in three months.
Contra Costa County has announced that it could slide back into the more-restrictive red tier this week. Santa Clara County is now experiencing an uptick after making significant progress.

"We hear you, we understand you're tired, and you still have to keep it up," said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.

Health officers from several Bay Area counties issued guidelines for the holiday season Monday. They recommend people keep gatherings outside, limit them to 3 households and less than 2 hours, and do not go to multiple get-togethers.

It also said non-essential holiday travel outside the Bay Area is not recommended.

"This year we're just going to hang out at home, and instead of doing it with a joint Thanksgiving with like extended friends and family, we're just going to keep it within the four of us," said Prajakta Kemkar of San Francisco.

John Walker of San Francisco is still thinking over his holiday plans.

"This year I don't know what that table looks like, and I don't know how we do it. It could be a Zoom Thanksgiving for us," he said.

The governor warned that the promise of an effective vaccine should not make people complacent.

"Doesn't mean it's a substitute for you to say 'well let's just go back to normal, let's open everything back up, let's all have everybody over for the holidays,'" Newsom said. "'Let's get Uncle Joe who I know has a heart condition, let's get him back in with the grandkids, because they haven't seen each other in a year.' We've got to be careful."

Right now, no state is seeing a sustained decline in new cases compared to two weeks ago and 27 have seen cases skyrocket at least 50 percent.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said asymptomatic infection is largely to blame.

"Right now, what is driving the outbreak, in the sense of essentially people coming in the home, small groups coming into homes, 8, 10 people, meeting together with friends for dinner, not knowing that one of them is infected," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

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